a tiny goodbye

My wife Rachel is in the hospital recovering from surgery. We discovered that instead of miscarrying, she had an ectopic precnancy. It had to be removed, tubal pregnancies never result in a live birth and the mothers life can easily be lost. Thank all of you so much for you genuine concern, it is humbling. She wanted to thank everyone that has been so kind, and to let you know that God is answering many prayers.

When I saw Rachel in the recovery room, she was surrounded in white, pale skinned and woozy. Her eyes seemed to stand out, red rimmed but full and clear. I have seen her like this before; I know that this is when she is strongest. Cotton-mouthed and smiling, she said in a simple voice "Jesus has our baby now". It was audacious and shattering to the cold, beeping, clinical and hopeless room. It was very much like her.

In most time of tragedy, it is hard to understand what happens as you pass through them. I feel a small echo of how I felt when my mother died. There is a harmony to the ebb and flow of emotions that resist any simple description.

When you lose a pregnancy, you naively assume that it means you will simply sit around and be sad until you snap out of it. In reality (as I am sure that anyone who has been through the same will attest) we grieve in pieces, small parts and little private fractured moments. Those moments are interspersed with mundane feelings, elation and revelation, connection with my living family, and blank denial. There is a rhythm to it all that produces a sensation its own, not unlike the tide.

We are sad, but encouraged and drawn together, there is loss and gain. On one hand it seems natural in a way that is comforting, but absolutely tragic considering the incomprehensible purity and simplicity of such a tiny soul. The baby was five weeks and had a heartbeat.

Of course debates rage about souls, life, meaning, heaven and so forth, yet all of that feels so academic and unreal right now. Even well accepted, well meaning and theologically exact platitudes fail to address something far deeper rooted in all of us, something more primal. I have lost a child. I am a father of four, one was barely more than a hope. I am the beloved of the most beautiful and wonderful woman alive. She has given a tiny birth through a scalpel. To that heartbeat, we say a tiny goodbye. The Lord gives, the Lord takes, blessed be the name of the Lord.